I skipped over some important things!
Before any body work can begin, it is important to have the vehicle set up properly. The closer it is to how it will be as a finished vehicle, the better. The smallest of things, like one bolt not quite tight enough, can throw everything off in the end. Here is a list of things to check. In reality, not everything is mandatory, but more that’s done, the smoother things with go in the end.
- Make sure the weight of the vehicle is fully on its suspension. At minimum, have jack stands under the suspension, as close to the wheels as possible. The best is to have the vehicle sitting on its wheels.
- Is the vehicle level? This is even more important if the coils are replaced with ‘mock up’ piece of square stock.
- Make sure all the proper body mounts are in place.
- Torque all body mounts evenly.
- Make sure the proper core support mounts are in place and torqued evenly.
- Have all (new) weather strip installed. It can make panels fit very differently.
- Are there rubber bumpers or adjusters used for any of the panels? Make sure they are in and adjusted
- Make sure all hinges are bolted down tightly, and have all the fasteners in them.
- Have the engine and transmission in. The weight makes a difference with how everything flexes. It’s possible the doors might fit differently without the weight there.
- Weight in the doors. The windows and window regulators usually weigh quite a bit. If those are in, or there’s some weight in the door to simulate the windows, it helps make sure everything will fit just right.
- Interior weight. Sometimes, especially on convertibles, the weight of the interior can affect the fitment of door gaps. Add some simulated weight inside the car.
- Gas Tank. A full tank of gas can weigh around 75 pounds, plus the tank. That can make a different. Add some weight in the back of the car to simulate the tank.
- Inner fenders should be installed and tightened down, as they can affect how the fenders fit.
- Any engine bay panels should be installed and tightened down. A lot of times, where they bolt in, can cause the tops of the fenders, etc to move around a little. The vehicle needs to be body worked with everything in this position.
Once again, it is very important to have everything fastened together, and tightened properly. Do not try to ‘save time’ by only throwing a couple bolts in something. Even if nothing is effected in the end, why take the chance. It’s very easy to just want to get on to doing body work, but getting everything set up properly is very important.